Allowance: Moving from “Getting” to “Earning”

When we first started giving our kids an allowance, we had a core philosophy that the allowance wasn’t payment for being good, or doing their chores. Rather, the allowance was a recognition that we trusted them to make their own spending decisions, using money we would have spent for their benefit regardless. Now that they’re all teenagers, we’re going to change the rules a bit. We’re going to take a portion of their allowance and …

Don’t Blow the Christmas Budget

With Christmas looming, everyone is thinking about gifts – and kids will naturally spend a lot of time thinking about gifts they’ll be receiving.  Now that our kids are older, they’re taking a lot of time and energy thinking about the gifts they’d like to give, as well.  With the way their budget works, they’ve each managed to accumulate a nice pot of money to buy those gifts, and they enjoy having the freedom to …

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Dipping Into Savings – 401k Kid Accounts

One of the core philosophies of our kids’ financial lives is the Share Save Spend strategy:  the first part of all income goes partially into giving, and partially into savings, before being allocated into a spending category.  What’s the point of putting money into savings, though?  Aren’t you just going to spend it all eventually? Well, of course you’re going to spend it eventually.  You can’t take it with you, right?  For younger kids, this …

No Debt Not Ever – Raising Financially Responsible Kids

If there’s one thing you should keep in mind when working with your kids to teach them about being financially responsible, it’s this: No Debt, Not Ever. This goes beyond preventing your kid from incurring debt.  It should also be a part of the way you talk about money and paying for things.  Here’s an example:  You’re at the store, and Junior says, “Oh, I forgot, I need a new pair of shoes, they won’t let …

Teaching Kids to Manage Income

  We have been working out the details of managing an allowance for our kids over the last six years, and have a few guiding principles that have helped us adapt when changes are necessary: An allowance isn’t their money, it’s ours; we’re just giving them freedom in managing it An allowance doesn’t cost us anything; it’s the same amount we would have spent on them anyway An allowance isn’t tied to jobs or chores; however, …

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Kids Managing Money: Getting Started with Share Save Spend

When you’re starting to talk about money with your kids, the place place to start, in my opinion, is with the Share Save Spend philosophy. Look a bit around the ‘net and you’ll find references to it everywhere – I’m not sure if it was Nathan Dungan who came up with it first, or Dave Ramsey, or ThreeJars.com, or Elmo from Sesame Street.  It doesn’t really matter, though, because the concept is easy enough for …

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“Budget” is not a bad word

Want to start a fight?  Tell your wife that it’s time to go on a budget.  You can almost see the hackles start to rise.  It’s really too bad that “budget” has become such a negative word, because there’s a lot of power in a budget. Let’s change gears for a moment – what do you think of when you see the word “diet”?  If I said, “It’s time you started a diet,” you’d probably …

A Book That Teaches Parents How to Make Their Kids Financially Literate

It has come to our attention that the way we have raised our kids to understand money is a bit unusual. After the financial crash of 2008, we realized that there were way too many people who had grown up without a basic understanding of how money and basic finance work.  We decided our kids would be different.  We set out to create a plan that would gradually train our kids in one of the …

Managing Finances

Before we were able to plan our trip, we had to get a handle on our finances. Like many, the mid-2000s found us in more debt than we would have liked and 2009 included the bonus of Bret being laid off from his job. At that point we figured we’d never be able to realize our goal of taking the kids on an extended family trip. Our church was offering the Dave Ramsey course, Financial Peace University, and we quickly moved to an all cash system.

Cost-Saving Tip: Christmas Travel Gifts

“Cost-Saving” and “Christmas” don’t usually appear together, but we’ve discovered that Christmas can be a good opportunity to exercise some smart planning when looking at big vacation plans.  How?  Well, just think about some of the stuff you’re planning on buying for your trip.  Instead of buying it later for the trip, buy travel gifts now, and disguise the purchases as Christmas presents! Case in point: kids are going to need some personal entertainment and …